My husband sometimes tells me I’ve lost all my senses, but I can say one thing for sure: my sense of smell is always intact! It’s been said that smell is one of the best ways to evoke memories, and I’ve found this to be true all through my life. But one of my favorite places to enjoy both smells and memories is the woman’s heaven and the wallet-watcher’s despair: Bath and Body Works!
My favorite scent from this store tends to depend upon my mood. It’s currently December, so all the Christmas scents are flooding my mind. Fresh Balsam is a nearly-perfect substitute for the scent of a real Christmas tree. In fact, it’s plugged into the same outlet as our artificial tree right now, so our living room smells like all the childhood Christmas trees I grew up loving so much. This fragrance reminds me of helping my mom pick out our tree during each chilly Minnesota winter from a Christmas tree lot, and of course I remember opening presents, with pine needles scattered over each package like snowflakes.
One other holiday scent comes with a special memory. About 10 years ago, my mom and I were visiting some family in Georgia. It was the beginning of November, so everything Christmas-related was starting to arrive on store shelves. My cousins and I decided to check out the local outlet mall. The Bath and Body Works store there only had one holiday fragrance at the time: Vanilla Bean Noel.
This fragrance mist smells very similar to vanilla frosting, and I came to love the smell on that day in the mall. I wore it for many years afterwords, and I always associate that scent with the beginning of November, when I really start to anticipate the holiday season.
Perhaps my favorite Bath and Body Works fragrance of all time is Sugared Cherry Crisp. It came out in the fall of 2020, as part of their Bake Shop line. It smells just like a cherry pie, with a doughy crust and everything.
Besides making me really hungry, this fragrance made me feel happy, and gave me a great reason to get into my morning baths. (Sadly, Sugared Cherry Crisp never came out this past fall, so here’s hoping it’ll be back next year.)
I’ve just finished reading Stephanie’s words, and my heart is broken like a dropped cherry pie.
While my wife loves Bath and Body Works, I think that love is the Lord’s way of teaching me patience. I’ll tell you one reason why.
My maximum time for being in a store is 5 minutes; I like to get in, get what I need, and get out. One time, for example, I needed some new pants, and my friend found a pair on a store shelf which she thought might fit me.
“Those are nice,” I said as I grabbed the pants, ready to leave.
“But,” my friend said, “you haven’t even tried them on yet.”
In contrast, my wife’s shopping time limit is approximately 4 hours. Get the picture, guys? It is really killing me, and I call the bottles and other products she buys her goop. For now, though, I guess I’ll just have to resign myself to the store’s existence.
Having said that, I can only imagine the cards and letters I will get from irate husbands. Unless, that is, I can get your help.
Before going any further, I would like to say a quick word in my defense, as I hope it will help you understand what I’m facing. I am a coward who hides behind the saying, “happy wife, happy life.” If you don’t believe me, I have the bankruptcies on my record to prove it. I was desperate to find a solution to excessive spending, so I decided it’s time we put Bath and Body Works out of business.
I also really wanted to help other men. So if you find yourself in a similar predicament, my heart goes out to you. Therefore, I have come up with what I think could be a solution, but I will need all your help in order to pull this off.
I propose that we come up with our own scents that will deter women from shopping at Bath and Body, and other similar shops. Below are three suggestions, and I plead with you to send me yours.
First of all, men, you will love the scent of Burning Rubber. This will make a wonderful addition to your auto-body shop, and it’s guaranteed to repel the female gender. Designed to evoke memories of flaming tires and grease under the fingernails, it will also make you remember that night when you were stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Next, they say that a dog is man’s best friend, but you won’t be satisfied until trying the fragrance called Wet Dog. Remember how your mom chased you screaming, “Get that wet dog out of here!”? This smell will have the same effect on your wife. But I will offer this warning: you may be sleeping on the couch for a while once she gets a whiff of this beauty.
Finally, there’s Country Perfume. This will remind you why you left home in the first place if you grew up on a farm. But if you think it will make you want to run, watch your wife. She might set a new Olympic record for the 500-yard dash.
But seriously now, did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about fragrance? First, let’s look at Paul’s words in the epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 2.
“And walk in the way of love just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
In order to really find out what this verse is saying, you have to take it apart. So while I’ll jump around, let’s start by looking at Paul’s final thought. Begin by asking yourself what it means when he says that Christ became a sweet fragrance to God.
To get the full import of this verse, imagine that you are going out with somebody special. He or she has just come to pick you up, and you walk to the front door. Upon opening it, you notice two things. One is how great they look, and the other is the wonderful scent that surrounds them.
The fragrance which Paul speaks of is much like salt on food. In other words, it goes unnoticed many times, but like salt, it is there to bring seasoning to our lives in a figurative sense.
The Bible tells us that our sin was a stench in the nostrils of a pure and holy God, until Christ paid for that sin with the fragrance of His pure blood. We can see exactly what happened between God the Father and God the Son as He gave Himself for us, but it doesn’t stop there. Because Christ’s fragrance also speaks of preparation, we need to let Him change our lives as He works in us.
Just as you would prepare for a date by applying cologne or perfume, we followers of Christ must prepare our hearts before God in quietness. That way He can search them and apply the perfume of His spirit, which draws us closer to Him. The closeness which we experience, in turn, yields the fruit of obedience, and God helps us as we lean on Him and endeavor to walk in the way of love.
I want to conclude with the one word I purposefully left out. It is the concept of sacrifice, which is mostly foreign to our ears. Because Christ gave His all and we have received His gift freely, we can give back with the fragrance of sacrificial joy. This joy speaks of internal peace, and brings fulfillment to those of us who choose to follow Christ.
So while other fragrances leave something to be desired, try the sweet fragrance of joy today, for it will never fade away.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.